United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND
COMPLAINT RE: DKT. NO. 25
JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Steven Carson filed this action in the Alameda County
Superior Court against Defendants CMA CGM (America) LLC,
Seaspan Corporation, and Seaspan Ship Management Ltd.
alleging negligence and products liability claims after he
was injured loading containers onto a vessel owned by
Defendants. Seaspan Corporation and Seaspan Ship Management
Ltd. then removed the action to this Court based on federal
diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1.) The Court thereafter
granted Homeport Insurance Company, who paid Plaintiff's
workers' compensation benefits following the incident,
leave to intervene. (Dkt. No. 20.) Plaintiff's motion to
amend the complaint to add Cargotec Oyj, MacGregor Germany
GmbH, Cargotec Holding, Inc., and Cargotec Crane &
Electrical Services, Inc. as additional defendants in this
action is now pending before the Court. (Dkt. No. 25.)
None of the current Defendants has filed an opposition to the
motion. After carefully considering Plaintiff's brief and
the relevant legal authority, the Court concludes that oral
argument is unnecessary, see Civ. L.R. 7-1(b), and
GRANTS the unopposed motion to amend.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) states that a party may
amend a pleading before trial “with the opposing
party's written consent or the court's leave”
and that the “court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.” Though Rule 15(a) is “very
liberal ... a district court need not grant leave to amend
where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2)
is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in
litigation; or (4) is futile.” AmerisourceBergen
Corp. v. Dialysist West, Inc., 465 F.3d 946, 951 (9th
Cir. 2006). Undue delay cannot alone justify the denial of a
motion to amend. Owens v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan,
Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712-13 (9th Cir. 2001). The most
important factor is prejudice to the opposing party.
Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401
U.S. 321, 330-31 (1971). A “determination should be
performed with all inferences in favor of granting the
motion.” Griggs v. Pace Am. Group, Inc., 170
F.3d 877, 880 (9th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff seeks leave to amend the complaint to add Cargotec
Oyj, MacGregor Germany GmbH, Cargotec Holding, Inc., and
Cargotec Crane & Electrical Services, Inc. because
recently produced documents indicate that these entities were
involved in the manufacturing of the container stacking cones
involved in Plaintiff's accident. (Dkt. No. 25-1 at
¶¶ 4-10.) Plaintiff contends that amendment is
necessary so that Plaintiff can fully litigate his claims,
and particularly, his product liability claim, and no party
will be prejudiced by amendment.
Court agrees that leave to amend is proper here. First, there
is no evidence of material prejudice to Defendants. See
Owens, 244 F.3d at 712 (finding appellants suffered no
prejudice when appellee amended its answer because there was
no delay in proceedings or required additional discovery).
Fact discovery does not close for over three months, and
Defendants have not identified any discovery that has been
conducted that has to be redone. While the addition of new
defendants may require that the trial date or other deadlines
be moved, Defendants have not objected to such a possibility.
there is no evidence of bad faith. See Owens, 244
F.3d at 712 (finding no evidence of bad faith because
Appellee offered “substantial competent evidence”
as to why it delayed in filing a motion to amend). Plaintiff
has moved to amend to add parties necessary to his products
there is no evidence of undue delay. Plaintiff received
documents on July 29 and September 3, 2019 from the Seaspan
entities which indicated that a company named Macgregor was
the manufacturer of the container stacking cones involved in
the accident. (Dkt. No. 25-1 at ¶ 4.) Upon further
investigation, Plaintiff discovered that Macgregor appeared
to be part of another company called Cargotec which was
headquartered in Finland under the name Cargotec Oja.
(Id. at ¶¶ 5-7.) Cargotec Oja appears to
do business in the United States through Cargotec Holding,
Inc. a Delaware corporation, and Cargotec Crane &
Electrical Services Inc., a Nevada corporation. (Id.
at ¶ 7.) Additional documents produced on September 3,
2019 indicate that there is a Macgregor entity called
MacGregor Germany GmbH. (Id. at ¶ 10.)
Plaintiff thereafter sought the parties' stipulation to
amendment, but they have not agreed, and he moved to amend
before the deadline to do so had passed. (Id. at
¶ 11.) See Owens, 244 F.3d at 712-13 (finding
no unreasonable delay because appellee moved to amend as soon
as it became aware of an applicable defense).
“a proposed amendment is futile only if no set of facts
can be proved under the amendment to the pleadings that would
constitute a valid and sufficient claim or defense.”
Sweaney v. Ada County, 119 F.3d 1385, 1393 (9th Cir.
1997) (internal quotations omitted). Here, there is nothing
to suggest that amendment of Plaintiff's complaint to add
these defendants would be futile.
the balance of factors supports granting Plaintiff leave to
amend under Rule 15(a)(2).
reasons stated above, Plaintiff's unopposed motion to
amend to add Cargotec Oyj, MacGregor Germany GmbH, Cargotec
Holding, Inc., and Cargotec Crane & Electrical Services,
Inc. as defendants is GRANTED. (Dkt. No. 25.) Plaintiff shall
file the proposed amended complaint within 3 business days.